Andrei Kanchelskis urges Jose Mourinho to invest in wingers at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United winger Andrei Kanchelskis has encouraged Jose Mourinho to place emphasis on signing wingers over the transfer window.

The club made strenuous efforts to prize Ivan Perisic away from Inter Milan over the summer, only for the Croat to sign a new contract at the San Siro instead.

Mourinho personally made clear his intent to bring in an attacking wide man earlier this year and the club will, according to reports, make efforts to sign a ‘magician’ forward to compete with Manchester City.

And Kanchelskis, when asked about where his former club can strengthen, immediately pointed towards Man United’s lack of wingers.

“Some games I am not happy,” he said. “It is not like we played under Ferguson. We always played with wingers.”

“Now it is City who play with wingers and you can see City are scoring a lot of goals. It is easier than if you play through the middle because there are too many defenders there, it’s too crowded.

“They need some width to stretch the defence. Ferguson always played 4-4-2 with two wingers and he won many titles. Money is not a problem, so maybe look for two good wingers, left and right.

“You need creative players, of course. You need more attacking because goalkeepers don’t score, only forwards score. That’s why I say they need some wingers for service to Ibrahimovic and Lukaku, because they are two tall attacking players.

“If you’ve no service, it’s difficult to score goals. If you see sometimes a long ball to Lukaku, he’s alone against four defenders and he’s got no chance. It’s more easy for the defence.

“If you play in a different way, with wingers, sometimes with long balls, sometimes with short balls, it’s more difficult for defensive teams.”

Mourinho made clear on several occasions in the summer that he wanted a winger and you can see why. With Romelu Lukaku at the masthead of attack, alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a considerable share of United’s attacking play comes out wide, with space created in the final third through quick manipulation of possession before firing into a dangerous crossing position.

This is where the good build-up often stops, however. Only Ashley Young can be considered a consistently dangerous crosser of the ball, and for a side ranking second in the Premier League – behind Tottenham Hotspur – for volume of crosses that is a clear black mark on their attacking strategy under the Portuguese.

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